Jose Mourinho says he will select a good-quality team to face Walsall because he has complete respect for our League One opposition.
For the duration of his managerial career Mourinho has enjoyed success in cup competitions, and part of the reason for that is because he never underestimates teams from lower down the footballing pyramid. It will be no different when we begin our defence of the Capital One Cup in the Midlands.
‘I don’t see reasons to throw away any competition,’ Mourinho told the official Chelsea website at Cobham on Tuesday. ‘A cup is a cup. A trophy is a trophy. If you lose, you lose but you don’t need to throw it away.
‘So yes, we look to the competition in a proper way, and I also think it’s very important to respect opponents. I don’t think opponents from the Championship, League One or League Two expect the big clubs to go and play against them without the best players.
‘They want a big day for themselves. Imagine if we go to Walsall without any one of our most important players - even if they won I don’t think the feeling would be the same. For Walsall players and Walsall supporters it’s important the big teams show that respect and that commitment.
‘In the FA Cup we lost against a League One club [Bradford], which can happen. Walsall are a good team. They are playing well and trying to be promoted. For them it’s a big occasion and as I was saying, it’s important to respect them and to go with a good team with the desire to win.’
Mourinho reported he will make changes to the side that beat Arsenal but will not risk compromising the overall quality of the starting XI. He has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the first of three consecutive away matches.
‘It’s a good opportunity for the people who are not playing so much and so it’s important for them that you win and you play again, because if you don’t play again there are fewer opportunities for some players to play.’
Two confirmed starters at the Banks’s Stadium are John Terry and Falcao. The latter is in line for his full debut while Terry knows all about nights such as these from years gone by. It will be his 650th Chelsea start.
‘Of course John’s experience will help,’ Mourinho said. ‘He didn’t play the last match so he is completely fresh and completely motivated to play, the same as Falcao for example.
‘Chelsea is Chelsea, and wearing the Chelsea shirt always brings responsibility. Every player is more than happy to play.’
By Rupert Cane